A Form of Forgiveness

I’ll try to piece this all together if I can.

John McCain had a lot of forgiveness for people involved with his time in Vietnam.  Time’sJoe Klien remembers one person and his connection with McCain:

Ifshin, you see, had been a vehement anti-Vietnam radical. He had even gone to Hanoi at the height at the war and given a speech denouncing the American pilots dropping bombs on North Vietnamese civilians as “war criminals.” The speech was broadcast repeatedly in the Hanoi Hilton, where McCain was being held captive. More than a few people thought Ifshin was guilty of treason.
After McCain was tortured and broken by the North Vietnamese and signed a confession of “criminality,” he was so ashamed that he attempted suicide—and later made a vow that he wouldn’t question the decisions or statements made by anybody else about the war. And so, when he arrived in the U.S. after his released and was asked about the antiwar protesters by Life magazine, he refused to condemn them. He kept to this policy, more or less, until 1984 when, as an ambitious young politician, he was asked by the Reagan campaign to deliver a speech slamming one of Walter Mondale’s top advisors—his campaign counsel, David Ifshin—for going to Hanoi, and giving aid and comfort to the enemy during wartime..
McCain gave the speech but, he later told me, felt great remorse about it. “I didn’t know the guy. I’d never met him,” he told me.
McCain and Ifshin met the following year at the annual AIPAC convention in Washington—and there is some disagreement what happened next: Both men later told me that the other initiated the conversation by apologizing. “McCain said, ‘I’m sorry I gave that speech. I didn’t even know you’” Ifshin told me. “And I said to him, ‘You’re apologizing to me?’ I’ve been wanting to apologize to you for years. I feel so terrible about that speech I gave in Hanoi.”
The two became fast friends. They did charitable work together in Vietnam and elsewhere. When Bill Clinton went to the Vietnam Memorial for Memorial Day 1993, both Ifshin and McCain were there, too. And when McCain saw a sign in the crowd—“Clinton: Tell Us About Ifshin”—McCain went to the floor of the Senate the next day and said, “Let me tell you about David Ifshin…David is a friend of mine.”
And when David was diagnosed with cancer, John McCain was there for him. And when David died, McCain gave one of the eulogies at his funeral. His voice broke when he said, “David taught me a lot about the meaning of courage.”

I’ve read a lot about how McCain still cannot thank the man who pulled him from that lake in Vietnam and stopped others from killing him.  I’ve also read that McCain was sharp with people who didn’t want to normalize relations with Vietnam.

McCain forgave Bush, and then hugged him a lot and got Bush to stop by Arizona for his birthday while NOLA drowned.  This year, McCain forgave Bush by hiring his team to help him win the White House, using the same tactics that Bush used to defeat McCain and all of his other challengers.

I wonder why it’s not working for McCain?  Is it really that people are tired of Bush, and need a change?  Or could it be the last frat boy prank Bush had in his pocket?  If McCain wins the election, he is royaly screwed. Could it be Bush as a true frat boy flipping the bird — to McCain?

It’s been clear for a while that Bush is only nominally in control of our government.  As he spoke last week, the market tumbled.

For those few who have not only held onto the Bush myth, but also, for the most part, held onto McCain, it must be bleak.  They must realize what it took to get Bush into office the past two elections, and what it took for McCain to revive his campaign — anyone remember the people who either voluntarily left the McCain campaign or were fired?  They didn’t want to campaign like the Bush people do.

Back to forgiveness.  It seems one should be careful, or as Bush says:  Fool me once, shame on me.  Fool me twice, don’t get fooled again.  Or something like that 🙂

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2 responses to “A Form of Forgiveness

  1. Damned at Random

    I’ll always wonder what ths campaign would have been like if McCain hadn’t sold his soul to the religious right. I’ve felt for a long time that the handlers package politicians so completely that the average voter has no idea who the man behind the curtain really is.

    It may be that Obama’s people have sold him to me more effectively, but I have a feeling that he is his authentic self on the campaign trail and thie current version of McCain is a total fabrication. The insider CYA books about the McCain campaign should make for interesting reading.

  2. I wonder what it would have been like if he had just stuck with the sort of campaign he was conducting right after he first got the nomintion. Remember the ‘poverty’ tour he did of the south. I thought the name was bad, but had he followed up on that, he could have had more credibility wrt caring about the economy. He might have even been able to counter the whole things about how many houses he has etc.

    I have always thought that Obama is more conservative than I care for, but he made the sale with me after Edwards dropped out. I’ve always taken Obama for what he says he is and how he behaves. I find an authenticity in him.

    The problem for McCain is that there are a whole host of people who see the difference in him.

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